A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this book realistically describes what it was like for American soldiers fighting in Vietnam in 1967-68. Expect profanity, poor grammar, and graphic violence; there are depictions of shootings and explosions, including a woman who booby-traps a small child to explode in an American soldier's arms. The story builds until the soldiers and readers are caught in a vortex of war. Richie asks some big questions -- about the reasons for the war, about the treatment of African-Americans, and more. The realism, humor, and intensity attract even reluctant readers and keep them reading -- and thinking about the cost of war.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Richie, an 18-year-old African-American kid from Harlem, joins the army and is sent to Vietnam in 1967. There, he bonds with the other soldiers in his small squad and watches as some of them die. Richie wonders if he'll live through the year as he participates in the growing violence of the war.
Is it any good?
Reading FALLEN ANGELS can be an intense experience, one that even reluctant readers may appreciate. This highly realistic depiction of young soldiers fighting the ground war in Vietnam was one of the first books to illuminate that war for young people. Today's adolescents, who were born after the Vietnam War, may not know much about it -- but that's OK because this book focuses on the experiences of the soldiers, not on the history of the war. Myers has the ability to make readers care about his characters and see them as real human beings. Ultimately, this is a vivid and unvarnished portrayal of the war in Vietnam.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the Vietnam War. Did you know anything about the Vietnam War before you read this book? Why is it important to read about events that happened before you were even born?
Richie sees that African-American soldiers are often put in the most dangerous situations. Do you think that is still true today? Why are so many of our soldiers fighting in today's wars from minority backgrounds? Is that fair?
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